Fresh Thoughts on the WR

Fr.Aidan

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So who's building on that false narrative? No one I know. Do you know anyone who is? I can't think of a single example. Maybe some Greek old calendarist zealot? It's some un-named bogeyman.

You say it would be ridiculous to be against resurrecting things from our shared past, or diving "deep" (going back centuries?) into the treasure troves of our heritage. Yet that seems to be precisely Fr. John Winfrey's position, when he lays out his philosophical construct of "The Patrimony." He denies that one could skip any generations, in resurrecting anything. He says, "It would not be The Patrimony." But I'll wager that he accepts a married priesthood (skipping 1300 years of Western practice); accepts lay people taking Communion during the time of a Mass or Liturgy (that's skipping many, many generations to resurrect a practice which was "dead" in the West); accepts Gregorian chant (skips many generations); and accepts Gothic style vestments (skips many generations).

Really, it comes down to this: I just love our artificially-restored archaeological practices. They rock. But those other guys over there, with different-coloured hair, I just hate their artificially-restored archaeological practices. They're awful.

Am I wrong?
 

Fr.Aidan

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I completely reject this caricature of the Western Rite situation. What if we had this:

Camp A: "Focus mainly on what is pre-Schism or at least pre-Reformation, because of Orthodox theology and to help escape the tremendous spiritual harm which was wrought by the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation, taking the West farther and farther from its own Orthodoxy; but be pastorally sensitive, not rejecting out of hand any local customs. Patrimony is important, but is directly accessible to us from 1054 right to the present. We respect how the West preserved its heritage, and we represent a direct continuity with that; however, we do not feel bound by the constraints of the last thousand years of development which were largely in a context of being divorced from Orthodoxy."

Camp B: "Patrimony is important, for people, for culture, for community, and we should seek to preserve all that we can. That which was done in 1053 cannot be done today, as it is outside the line of development the separated West took historically. We ought not to deviate from that deviation"

I have mentioned that it's not "elements" which are life-giving, it is the CHURCH which is life-giving. It is Christ Who is life-giving.

You wrote: "Camp A, however, excludes anything after their determined "cut off" dates." Does anyone actually claim that? I don't know of a single soul. It's a big, bad, scary bogeyman.
 

FormerReformer

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Sleeper said:
What's really at the heart of the issue is:

Camp A: "Only that which is pre-Schism (ideally), or at the least pre-Reformation, is permissible for Orthodox use."

Camp B: "Patrimony is important, for people, for culture, for community, and we should seek to preserve all that we can."

Camp B incorporates all of the elements that make up what Camp A seeks to put into use and preserve, as well as any elements that were developed after the supposed "cut off" dates (so long as they are logically derived and continue to be authentic and life-giving), within its scope.

Camp A, however, excludes anything after their determined "cut off" dates. It doesn't see the Western Tradition as an organic whole, something that never "died" and continued to develop, but rather sees it as a severed branch that must be "resurrected." i.e. setting the clock back.
How about Camp C: Use St Tikhon's Rite, use Sarum Rite, use the Rite of St Gregory, use what you want and be done with arguing already!  There's plenty of room in Orthodoxy for both stances and WR is really too small to be the focus of such intense debate, especially with those Camp D ("Western Rite isn't real Orthodoxy") vultures circling the skies.

The whole argument reeks from both sides: it's all creating a new liturgy for Western use, whether it's modifying what's already in use by the Anglicans or the Roman Catholics or it's "resurrecting" old liturgies based on a variety of texts from shortly after the schism and trying to sort out what wasn't there before.  Both approaches are Orthodox in that they have been approved for use by their respective synods and bishops, there's no point in trying to prove that one philosophy or the other is more Orthodox.

Fr.Aidan said:
But I'll wager that he accepts a married priesthood (skipping 1300 years of Western practice); accepts lay people taking Communion during the time of a Mass or Liturgy (that's skipping many, many generations to resurrect a practice which was "dead" in the West); accepts Gregorian chant (skips many generations); and accepts Gothic style vestments (skips many generations).
Father, it seems to me that you are coming at this from a very "Roman" view of "Western practice".  A married priesthood only really skips about 300 years from the time of the Gregorian reforms to the time of the Protestant Reformation, the same for laity receiving Communion.  Gregorian chant might have fallen into disuse in many places before it's 19th century revival, but it certainly never "died out" completely.

EDIT: fixed quotes
 

Fr.Aidan

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It's true that in many locales in Western Europe, the prohibition against married priests was only "on the books" (from the 3rd century or so, onward), and that these local canons were sometimes ignored.

Definitely if we accept the construct of The Patrimony, we could not permit married priests. That's skipping more than just a few generations, and the construct of The Patrimony says we can't even skip a single generation, much less several, without deviating from The Patrimony.

FormerReformer has perfectly laid out the modus operandi of the RWRV, and pretty succinctly at that.

My main plea is for tolerance and forbearance. I am not for forcing things on people. I believe one leads, whether in virtue or liturgically, primarily by example. Mine may be a minority view, but I think time will bear it out.
 

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I hope you're right, Fr. Aidan, that it's not real and just a "bogeyman." But I've come across some things, down in the Western Rite trenches, so to speak, that definitely affirm these sentiments. I'd be grateful if it proved to not be so.

And, to be honest, I actually like what you wrote for the "Camp" scenario, and we agree on much of it, I just wanted to keep mine short and to the point :)

What I think Antioch's approach is, and what Fr. Winfrey is trying to articulate, is a mix of both, in that it's prudent and wise to begin with our inherited Patrimony, keeping as much in place as possible, and letting it organically grow from there, making corrections if it proves to be necessary. AND, I think part of that growth, should the occasion arise, would definitely come by looking backward. But to set the clock back 900 years from the start, or out of principle, under the assumption that that's what's really best for the Western Rite, or because it's thought that that's where the Rite would naturally arrive, is a bit presumptuous. You mentioned St. John Maximovitch's approval of the Gallican Rite for the Western Rite, but that was not out of principle, it was out of necessity and he thought it only a temporary measure until a more "authentic" rite could be put into place. That is, if we trust an Orthodox man by the name of Fr. Augustine, who says, in his own words: "My spiritual father tells me what Fr. Seraphim passed on to him from St. John. St. John said that he had blessed the Gallican Rite as a temporary measure, but that he felt it must eventually “phase out,” since it had been proscribed by an Orthodox council of the West prior to the Schism. He said a day would come when a more authentic rite could be employed, without the need for recreations or guess-work, but that the scholarship was not available yet. In the meantime, he saw value in allowing Westerners to become Orthodox without having to lose their Western heritage and identity, and so he blessed the Gallican Rite" (emphasis added, source: the comment section of http://frmilovan.wordpress.com/).

The point, it seems, to St. John was authenticity, not something that required recreations. I understand Fr. Winfrey's thoughts, and Antioch's approach, in this same light. Keep intact as much as possible from that which has already been in use and kept alive in the Western patrimony, correcting when necessary, but as minimally as possible so that the growth is organic and time-tested, not manufactured.

Now, to be fair, I do not think you're without your own "big, bad, scary bogeyman" either, with all of your "tremendous spiritual harm" talk wherein you lump the Anglo-Catholic tradition in with the whole of "Protestantism." Is it not saying something if the long tradition away from the initial "Protestant" reaction of the Anglican Church, which we see in the Caroline Divines, Non-Jurors, Elizabethans, Anglo-Catholics, etc., is what caused so many parishes to come into the AWRV? If the Anglo-Catholic Patrimony (for lack of a better term) were so "spiritually harmful" and "Protestant" why in the world did it ultimately lead so many to the bosom of Orthodoxy?
 

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Fr.Aidan said:
It's true that in many locales in Western Europe, the prohibition against married priests was only "on the books" (from the 3rd century or so, onward), and that these local canons were sometimes ignored.

Definitely if we accept the construct of The Patrimony, we could not permit married priests. That's skipping more than just a few generations, and the construct of The Patrimony says we can't even skip a single generation, much less several, without deviating from The Patrimony.

FormerReformer has perfectly laid out the modus operandi of the RWRV, and pretty succinctly at that.

My main plea is for tolerance and forbearance. I am not for forcing things on people. I believe one leads, whether in virtue or liturgically, primarily by example. Mine may be a minority view, but I think time will bear it out.
"The Patrimony" sounds like you're coming awfully close to constructing another bogeyman ;) I don't think you're quite understanding where Fr. Winfrey is coming from with this idea. You keep insisting that it rules things out, but it doesn't. You can't point to anything "resurrected" and say, "Ha! What of The Patrimony now?!" That's not how it works.
 

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At any rate, I think FormerReformer makes a good observation, and that is that there is room for both approaches within the Church. Much of the heated debate seems to stem from some idea that we're all trying desperately to get a single Rite within the Church, and we're waiting for some sort of Spirit-guided survival of the fittest weeding-out of all the "competing" liturgies out there in the Orthodox wild. I, for one, would love to see all of the approved liturgies remain in use, with several more old ones resurrected if people can use it authentically.
 

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Why waste so much time in arguing over forms or worry over what others are doing? This is my main observation, sadly, of the modern Western Rite. It's bad enough people who know nothing of WR are arguing over what it should be, there are too many people in WR arguing over what it should be. What it will be will not come about through philosophical arguments, nor through episcopal decisions, really, but through the work of holy people and their prayers. I realize this is sort of a dumb argument in itself, but this is what I have observed.
 

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Sleeper said:
At any rate, I think FormerReformer makes a good observation, and that is that there is room for both approaches within the Church.
But if Antioch's approach to WRO is completely Orthodox doesn't it make resurrecting ancient pre-Schism rites a little useless? Why waste time trying to resurrect old rites when we can just borrow comtemporary Protestant and Catholic rites?
 

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I would ask for patience from those who are outside the actual scope of living Western Rite Orthodoxy, looking in. It must seem awfully pointless to be discussing all these things ad nauseam with an apparent underlying premise of "my rite is better than yours." You must forgive us for the tedium of it, but the fact is, important developments are underway. It's time for free exchange of ideas. In most Western rite parishes, use of older forms is absolutely and categorically forbidden, and those who have opened their mouths in the past, to inquire about the possibility of using older Western rites, have been shamed and all but silenced. Only in the RWRV is there a non-partisan pastoral permission given to both older Western rites and modern Western rites. But that does not mean that the discussion is not occurring within the AWRV; it is occurring, even if not in any public forum other than the Occidentalis group (the only discussion group for Western Rite Orthodoxy in the world on which varying views are tolerated by the moderator as long as guidelines demanding civility are respected). People still whisper to one another at gatherings, or even speak aloud to one another in private settings. Hearts and minds can be won or lost, in all directions, no matter what official directives say.

The fact is, there is no way to avoid the discussion. The Western Rite clergy and their flocks have differing approaches to Western rite. We come from a bewildering variety of backgrounds. In many ways our approaches are compatible, and in some ways they are not compatible. We don't need or want a WWII de la WR. But we have to hash things out, with apologies in advance. At least things are calmer now than ten years ago, and even five years ago. As tumultuous as it all may seem, trust me, free exchange of ideas is a part of the natural processes by which the liturgics will become settled for the salvation of souls. And in the meantime, nothing can stop a faithful soul from drawing near to Christ, as long as one has the grace of the Mysteries, the purity of the Orthodox faith, and the desire, the hunger, for God.

The same dynamic of piety wedded to scholarship, which has resulted in the living use today of ancient Western rites in the canonical Orthodox Church (though this is utterly forbidden to the majority of WRO), has led in the past to the singing of Gregorian chant today in AWRV churches. It has led to the restoration of a married priesthood for the Western Rite. It has led to many positive things.

I honestly don't think I overstated what Fr. John Winfrey was describing in his construct of "The Patrimony"; if I did, somebody please show me where or how I did. I did come up with hypotheticals and brought the construct to bear on them; obviously, that's my thinking through the principles and is not Fr. John's own words.

Look, if the Patrimony construct is liberally applied, it will permit Sarum Use and Orthodox-era liturgics, since the Roman rite is the Roman rite is the Roman rite. If it is narrowly and strictly applied, then it would exclude Gregorian chant and a married priesthood, not to mention the entire BCP rite tradition of the Reformation. Or so it seems to this sinner. It is inconsistent to claim that almost any liturgical revolution is permissible as part of the flow of history, EXCEPT the flow of history where older Orthodox usages got restored.
 

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Beautiful post, Fr Aidan.

We are in agreement, I believe. I admit, too, that I may very well be misunderstanding what Fr Winfrey is putting forth, too. I look forward to following his additional installments to see how he fleshes this out.
 

Fr.Aidan

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I think it's reached a point that Fr. John should be notified of all that has been posted in this thread, so that we are not talking behind his back. Can someone pass all this along to him? If I am misunderstanding his points, it should be his right to say something. And it wouldn't be the first time I did something stupid! Fortunately, in the monastery I learned how to apply forehead to ground and sincerely ask for pardon. Although I never quite learned how to shut my trap outside the great silence...
 

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Fr.Aidan said:
Only in the RWRV is there a non-partisan pastoral permission given to both older Western rites and modern Western rites.

The fact is, there is no way to avoid the discussion. The Western Rite clergy and their flocks have differing approaches to Western rite. We come from a bewildering variety of backgrounds. In many ways our approaches are compatible, and in some ways they are not compatible. We don't need or want a WWII de la WR. But we have to hash things out, with apologies in advance. At least things are calmer now than ten years ago, and even five years ago. As tumultuous as it all may seem, trust me, free exchange of ideas is a part of the natural processes by which the liturgics will become settled for the salvation of souls. And in the meantime, nothing can stop a faithful soul from drawing near to Christ, as long as one has the grace of the Mysteries, the purity of the Orthodox faith, and the desire, the hunger, for God.

The same dynamic of piety wedded to scholarship, which has resulted in the living use today of ancient Western rites in the canonical Orthodox Church (though this is utterly forbidden to the majority of WRO), has led in the past to the singing of Gregorian chant today in AWRV churches. It has led to the restoration of a married priesthood for the Western Rite. It has led to many positive things.
I cannot speak of the events of years ago in the WR.  I assume Father the RWRV is ROCOR's new WR Vicariate?  It seems to me that there has been enormous disunity within the RWRV in relation to liturgical use, in relation to the validity of non Sarum use including Baroque vestments, which Bishop Jerome the RWRV bishop ruled as entirely acceptable for WRO usage.

The RWRV may be a step forward, but clearly the disharmony amongst some ROCOR WR clergy which has spilled into the public domain needs to be addressed - not just as a matter of personality clashes, but as a matter of organisational structure/hierarchy/authority, particularly in relation to the WR being set up as US/Canada and Rest of the World

Secondly the AWRV set up of having the AWRV firmly related to local bishops, local deaneries and organically part of the diocesan life of the Antiochian Church seems to me to have produced greater fruits of unity, greater oversight and clerical supervision and less disharmony than the contemporary RWR experience would suggest. Perhaps the WR would hinge less on strong charismatic leaders if WR clergy were subject to their local deaneries and bishops.
 

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Fr.Aidan said:
I think it's reached a point that Fr. John should be notified of all that has been posted in this thread, so that we are not talking behind his back. Can someone pass all this along to him? If I am misunderstanding his points, it should be his right to say something. And it wouldn't be the first time I did something stupid! Fortunately, in the monastery I learned how to apply forehead to ground and sincerely ask for pardon. Although I never quite learned how to shut my trap outside the great silence...
Father, the link in the OP takes you to Fr Winfrey's article and comments may be made there.  You could make a Comment to let him know his work is being discussed here on the Forum and on Occidentalis.  His contributions would be welcome.
 

Fr.Aidan

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Dear father, I did so, and he responded, there, that he read through these posts (I gave a link to him) and clarified that he intends not a narrow interpretation of the Patrimony concept, but one that is "liberal" (in the original sense of the word). 
 
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